DMA Presents Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties; First Large-Scale Exhibition of American Art of the 1920s

  • DALLAS, Texas
  • /
  • March 01, 2012

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Edward Hopper, Lighthouse Hill, 1927, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Purnell, 1958.9; Winold Reiss.


Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties is the first wide-ranging exploration of American art from the decade whose beginning and end were marked by the aftermath of World War I and the onset of the Great Depression. The exhibition, declared “expansive and exhilarating” by the New York Times, includes over 130 paintings, sculptures, and photographs by over sixty artists and will be on view from March 4 through May 27, 2012, at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). Organized by the Brooklyn Museum, Youth and Beauty also includes three works from the DMA’s collection by artists Edward Hopper, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Gerald Murphy.

Nickolas Muray, Gloria Swanson, c. 1925, gelatin silver print, George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York, Gift of Mrs. Nickolas Muray, © Estate of Nickolas Muray.

“Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties offers us a window into the conflicting forces at work during this complex decade, and how the response of the nation’s artists to those challenges transformed the face of American art,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art.

The 1920s—The Jazz Age, The Roaring Twenties—was a decade marked by widespread urbanization, industrialization and mechanization, and social phenomena including the postwar collapse of traditional ideals, the rampant materialism of the Calvin Coolidge era, and the collision of rural and urban environments. American life was dramatically transformed, and American artists responded to this dizzying modern world with works that emphatically demonstrate a desire for clarity and wholeness and for the expression of stillness and order.

The thorough integration of painting, sculpture, and photography throughout the exhibition, and the critical attention devoted to a broad array of artists, from such leading figures as Georgia O’Keeffe, Thomas Hart Benton, Alfred Stieglitz, Charles Sheeler, Imogen Cunningham, and Man Ray, to lesser-known artists including Margrethe Mather, George Ault, Aaron Douglas, Elsie Driggs, and Peter Blume, will illuminate common themes and shared characteristics. Works of art in the DMA’s collection featured in Youth and Beauty include Lighthouse Hill by Edward Hopper, Bather with Cigarette by Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Razor by Gerald Murphy.

Visitors will be able to explore the exhibition with a smARTphone tour featuring eighteen works and an introduction from DMA Director Maxwell L. Anderson. The Museum will celebrate Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties during the April 20 and May 18 Late Nights with 20s-influenced concerts, films, tours, family activities, and more. A weekend of events inspired by the exhibition will be held on Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, featuring a Silent Movie Marathon and half-price exhibition admission on Saturday, April 28. Additional programs, including lectures and gallery talks, will be scheduled throughout the run of the exhibition. For dates and details, visit 

Winold Reiss, Black Prophet, 1925, pastel on Whatman board, private collection, © The Reiss Trust.

Accompanying Youth and Beauty is an exhibition featuring images of Texas during the 1920s made by Texas artists. Gathering drawings, etchings, prints, and photographs loaned by local collections Texas in the Twenties: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from Lone Star Collections highlights scenes of Texas as well as the transitional time in Dallas history when it was on the verge of becoming one of our nation’s largest and most vibrant cities. Showcasing approximately thirty works by L. O. Griffith, Mary Anita Bonner, and Eugene Omar Goldbeck, Texas in the Twenties will be on view March 4 through July 1, 2012.

Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties is organized by the Brooklyn Museum and by Teresa A. Carbone, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The curator of the Dallas presentation is Sue Canterbury, The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art.

This exhibition was sponsored by DLA Piper. Major support for this exhibition and the accompanying catalogue was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Exhibition Fund, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition in Dallas is presented by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by the DMA’s Junior Associates Circle with funds raised through An Affair of the Art 2012: Glory of the Age and the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas. Air transportation in Dallas is provided by American Airlines.

 A multi-author, fully illustrated catalogue co-published by the Brooklyn Museum and Skira Rizzoli accompanies the exhibition; it is the first publication solely devoted to an overview of American painting, sculpture, and photography of the 1920s.

Tags: American art

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